Chesil Beach hosts the only breeding colony of the Little Tern in the south-west. This beautiful bird is indeed little - about half the size of a common tern - and considerably less common. They migrate to Britain annualy after wintering off the western coast of Africa. The last two years have seen the best productivity ever at this colony at Ferrybridge which is now well on the way to recovery, after many years of decline. Much of this success is down to the time and effort put in by RSPB staff and volunteers applying management techniques successfully used at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
Photo - Luke Phillips 2011
Preparations for the 4th year of the Chesil Bank Little Tern Recovery Project are well underway; a hard-working team put up the electric fence (designed to discourage predators) in record time a couple of weeks ago. Wardening facilities have been greatly improved with a purpose-built hide replacing the tiny fisherman’s tent used last year.
The warden, John Dadds, is hoping that the improved facilities will encourage more people to volunteer their time to watch over the colony and protect the terns from the impact of disturbance and predation. Apart from the shelter and comfort it provides, it is also situated just a few metres from the heart of the colony and provides fantastic views of the terns nesting which most people only get to see from hundreds of metres away.
So if you would like to be a part of this conservation success story, please contact John on 07580 127065 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the project.
All we need now is for the terns to settle in. They would normally be here in increasing numbers by now!
There is a couple of clutches on the beach now. Plenty more to follow lets hope.